“Corporates must do better than a £5 voucher or some tins of paint”

There is a heartfelt article by Kevin Curley (the former chief exec of NAVCA and now a freelance voluntary sector advisor) exhorting the private sector to “raise its game” in how it engages in community action and supports voluntary effort.

There’s also some good debate building too.

While I agree with Kevin to some degree I also think that it is we in the third sector who must also improve the way we package, promote and market support and volunteering opportunities to corporates.

We’re hopeless at anticipating corporates’ requirements and we lack the time and capacity to combine and package volunteer and support opportunities in such a way that they will appeal to the private sector, meet businesses CSR (and other) objectives while also offering tangible outcomes for success, “feel good”, team building and all the other things volunteers (and donors) want to experience.

These are the things we have to get better at. This and thinking and doing differently — we have to get out there more and sell our support opportunities to the private sector!

  1. Charles Rapson Reply

    I agree with Alun, the way third sector organisations relate to businesses on this is crucial. At SUSTAiN we have secured masses of support from businesses because we package things in a way they understand that provides a range of win-win options.

    In my experience, businesses are very willing to engage if the proposition is right. I’ve spent a lot of time in the company of businesses as part of the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Growth programme (one of a handful of Social Enterprises taking part). I witnessed a significant appetite for CSR opportunities.

    In fact I found greater awareness and practical application of the Social Value bill in the private sector than in the public sector. Its already in use in many tenders within the private sector whereas the public sector appear to still be wondering how to respond.

    At SUSTAiN, we have an advantage in that we have lots of business experience in our organisation and operate more like a (social) enterprise than most VCO’s or CVS’s. We can speak the language.

    Go to the Resources section of our website and you will find information about our approach to business support and CSR.

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